Staff and visitors letting down bio-security on EU broiler farms

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Better education of broiler farmers and their staff would help improve overall biosecurity on broiler farms in Europe, according to a comprehensive new study published this week.

The research, which used a risk-based weighted scoring system to assess the level of biosecurity on 399 conventional broiler farms in 5 EU member states, found that the lowest score related to biosecurity for visitors and staff.

The paper, ‘Scoring biosecurity in European conventional broiler production’ aimed to quantify the level of biosecurity on conventional broiler farms.

The scoring system consisted of 2 main categories:

  1. External biosecurity
  2. Internal biosecurity

Which had 8 and 3 sub-categories respectively.

Scoring biosecurity

Biosecurity was quantified by converting the answers to 97 questions into a score from zero to 100. The minimum score, zero, represents total absence of any biosecurity measures on the farm.

Internal biosecurity scored better than external

The participating broiler farms scored:

  • Better for internal biosecurity (mean score 76.6) than for external biosecurity (mean 68.4).
  • There was variation between the mean biosecurity scores for the different member states, ranging from 59.8 to 78 for external biosecurity and from 63.0 to 85.6 for internal biosecurity.
  • Infrastructure and vectors had the highest mean score in the external biosecurity category (82.4) while visitors and staff scored just 51.5.
  • Disease management scored highest in the internal biosecurity category (65.8).

Researchers found in the model used a lot of variation for external and internal biosecurity on the participating farms, suggesting that improvements were possible.

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